Welcome to Cozy Week, where we’ll curl up by the glow of our screens to celebrate all that’s soft in entertainment. Pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa and sit by us as we coo over the cutest games, cry over the tenderest movie moments, and drift off to the most comforting shows. Because it can be a cold world out there, and we need something to keep us warm.
Even the darkest TV dramas need moments to breathe, so we’re spotlighting the moments of unexpected relief in otherwise tension-filled television; the softest scenes of the hardest shows. These aren’t things that made us weep with short-lived joy or elicit any other strong emotional reactions — they’re just nice, at times when nice seems like a foreign concept, moments of lightness amid otherwise constant stress.
Here are 10 of the softest scenes from the hardest TV shows.
Daryl and Carol, The Walking Dead
Despite the world having gone to shit years ago in the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead, Daryl and Carol have managed to maintain a strong friendship through it. In between moments of the two of them killing hordes of zombies, fighting for their lives against some of the most heinously evil humans in the world, and having to push through the losses of countless loved ones, Daryl and Carol manage to have some of the cutest moments on the show together. You can’t help but smile when Daryl takes Carol out on his motorcycle in the premiere of Season 10 as the two talk and relax for a little while during the end of humanity. When Daryl gives Carol that friendship bracelet, there’s nothing sweeter than that. –Kellen Beck, Entertainment Reporter
Direwolf bread, Game of Thrones
Thrones has its fair share of soft moments, as it should to make up for what it subjects us to the rest of the time. With the series over, with cities torched and weddings ruined and so many scenes of violence and murder seared into our memories, it’s a relief sometimes to look back on the lighter moments, like Hot Pie gifting Arya (“Ari”) bread in the shape of a dire wolf back in Season 3. Hot Pie himself represents a beacon of soft hope in the fiery hellscape of Westeros, and his friendship with Arya is one of the few uncorrupted relationships in the entire series. This is a scene with no agendas, no twisted loyalties, and a rare breather for Arya, who spends most of her time thinking about murder. Let’s just sit in that for a bit. –Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
Ashley Too tears up, Black Mirror
Black Mirror‘s fifth season may have been the least bleak of the bunch, but after years of this show’s emotional warfare we can’t help watch with a sense of looming dread. That feeling hangs over the episode “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too” as we wait for the little robot pop star to inevitably grow sentient, but the scene in which it starts to do so is surprisingly moving. Ashley Too wakes up during a newscast about the real Ashley O’s coma (fabricated by her manipulative aunt), and the robot appears to visibly cry at the pain of her flesh-and-blood counterpart. –P.K.
Buddy and Wendy’s “Lose your shit tomorrow” chat, Ozark
Long live, Buddy Dieker. Though Ozark fans lost the beloved basement roomie in Season 2, his allegiance to the Byrdes made it possible for them to fight another day — and no scene exemplifies this quite like his heart-to-heart with Wendy in the episode “Game Day.” Telling her a story about a sick man who invited all of his friends over to say goodbye before he died, only to pass after they’d all left, Buddy gives Wendy the courage to keep battling for her children: “Lose your shit tomorrow. Today’s no day to fall apart.” It’s sage advice that’s kept Wendy and her kids alive, for now. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
Frank and Karen in the elevator, The Punisher
The Punisher was the definition of a “hard” show. Frank Castle is a man-shaped can of whoopass who spends nearly the entire show (and most of Daredevil Season 2) murdering his way out of rooms. His deep affection for Karen Page, however, is his one weakness. In The Punisher Season 1, Frank and Karen plot to escape the police by making it look like Frank is taking her hostage, but the moment they know they’re safe they spring apart…then come back to hold each other like letting go would kill them both. It’s tense, then incredibly soft, then tense again when they leave each other worried about where Frank’s mission will take them both. –Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
Roman and Gerry on the yacht, Succession
Look, we’re not going to say this is a healthy “relationship” (having phone sex with another VIP at the company you both work at while cheating on your current partner isn’t exactly The Best). But compared to the other romance options on the show — i.e. Shiv and Tom — fans realized Gerri and Roman sort of rule, comparatively. The moment: Roman defending Gerri on the yacht in the Season 2 finale when the Roys were discussing who would be fired and take the fall for the cruises fiasco. A Roy? Caring about someone besides themselves? Believe the hype. Ugh! Hot. Ugh! –Erin Strecker, Entertainment Editor
Tommy kept the dog, Peaky Blinders
Tommy Shelby has killed a lot of people. He’s killed enemies in war, business rivals, authority figures, friends, and multiple horses. For those wondering who exactly Tommy would spare, Peaky Blinders Season 5 offered a clear answer: Children and dogs. In episode 4 he threatens a nun whom he knows to be a child abuser, but the unexpected softness arrives in episode 1, when Tommy arrives home from London to an enthusiastic greeting from Alfie Solomons’ dog. Tommy and Alfie had their last face off at the end of Season 4, when Alfie jokingly asked Tommy to take care of the dog. It was a throwaway remark, a moment of panicked levity from a man facing death, but Tommy Shelby is also not one for jokes. He took the ask seriously (a dying man’s wish!) and now Cyril is part of the family. -P.K.
Rue and Fez’s couch talk, Euphoria
Euphoria gulps down devastating scenes like glittery water, but few are as sweet and resonant as Rue and Fezco’s couch talk. Yes, that couch talk. Of course, Rue’s recollection of her father’s death and subsequent struggle with addiction are incredibly hard to take. But her descriptions offer vivid, relatable insight into her character and make her bond with Fez that much stronger. Plus, that final “We’re too high for this” exchange offers a warm moment of understanding that makes it seem like maybe, just maybe things are gonna be OK. — A.F.
Stabler taking care of Benson when she’s sick, Law & Order: SVU
Despite Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler ending their partnership long ago, they remain one of the procedural format’s most iconic duos. They shared a platonic (yes, platonic) bond that made them incredible friends and even better cops, protecting the city of New York with unshakable determination. But, sometimes that determination got in the way of their better judgment. Like when Olivia, with a 101 fever and terrible case of the flu, tried to investigate a case anyway. Enter Elliot with tea, a blanket, and some stern recommendations that she get in bed. It’s just one of many moments that helped us take a break from the murders, kidnappings, and assaults to go “Awwww! Guuuuys!” — A.F.
Jimmy painting Kim’s toenails, Better Call Saul
For all its emotional devastation and white-knuckle intensity, Better Call Saul does go out of its way to reminds us that Jimmy’s got a softer side as well — particularly when it comes to Kim, his best friend and love interest. A Season 1 scene of Jimmy casually painting Kim’s toenails encapsulates their relationship perfectly. It’s cute, unexpected, and a little bit sexy, thanks to their easy, affectionate chemistry.
Of course, Saul being Saul, even the happiest scenes come with a dark side: They exist just so you can feel even worse when things start to fall apart. Still, let’s appreciate the sweet moments where we can get them. Lord knows they’re hard enough to come by on this series. –Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor